Email Marketing has come a long way since the days of relying on pop-ups to get someone’s attention. Although it seems some people haven’t gotten this out of their heads yet, the rest of humanity has chosen to evolve.

The story of email marketing is not a pretty one, however. Spammers, phishing, mailing list purchases and hidden unsubscribe buttons are just a few of the growing pains the consumer and the marketer alike have had to endure.

But here’s the good news – there’s a 3 step process to making your digital marketing more advanced, more effective and more evolved – here are the 4 steps of email marketing evolution.


The first step most email marketers will take on their way to email enlightenment is segmentation. Segmentation occurs when email marketers divide their contacts into separate mailing lists based on a common attribute or characteristic.

Here’s some ways to segment your list to get you started:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Responsive or unresponsive contacts
  • Previous customers

According to a study by emarketer, 39% of marketers who segmented their email lists experienced higher open rates, 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates and 24% experienced greater revenue generation.

The statistics speak for themselves – and segmenting your list can be easily accomplished to achieve effective email marketing.


Next, email marketers may want to experiment with personalization tags.

I’m talking about these kind of tags – {$firstname} or {$companyname!”your agency”}.

With the way they look, these tags appear to require some kind of coding experience – but we make it easy! If your contact’s information is saved in your database or mailing list, our personalization tool will automatically fill in the details with each send!

It will also allow you to enter in an alternative incase you don’t have the information in your database just yet.

A 2014 marketing study found that while the majority of brands still do not use personalization, it has proven in getting readers engaging with your email. Personalized email has a 29% higher unique open rate and 41% higher unique click rate when compared to non-personalized email!

Here’s some tips for basic name personalization

  • When signing up subscribers, always ask for their name.
  • Always double check your data for incorrect or obvious fake names.
  • Know when not to use it – would your subscribers want other people to know they use your product? (Adult services, gambling, financial services)
  • Don’t use their last name – research shows it’s too personal.


The modern digital marketer knows that shouting at a broad demographic in the hopes of making a sale or two is an outdated method of marketing communication. The previous steps of segmentation and personalization have all been leading to the illusion of a one-to-one relationship with leads.

Well now, you can actually have this kind of relationship automatically.

Marketing automation takes segmentation to the individual level by sending customized communications to each lead based on how they interacted with your previous emails, your website and any other variable you want.

For example, let’s say a potential customer visits an online store and views a specific pair of shoes for some time. They then get distracted like many internet users eventually do. About an hour later, they get a promotional email  featuring those exact shoes for a special price. The sale is practically done already!

Marketing automation gives digital marketers this power and more with campaign tracking, call tracking, sales pipeline management and visitor ID to name a few.

You can try out marketing automation for yourself here with SharpSpring, the perfect starting point for the modern digital marketing professional.

Welcome to Digital Enlightenment

Digital marketing will continue to evolve as long as we use technology. Staying on the cutting edge will determine if your marketing strategies stay relevant, or become the static of yesteryear.

What are some of your favourite techniques in digital marketing? Have you tried SharpSpring yet?

Contact us and let us know!

  • Author: maryka.burger

  • Maryka has worked across multiple industries ranging from hard news journalism to digital tech companies and advertising. She is an expert at building online presence, and offers a wealth of knowledge on digital marketing, social media and automation trends to agencies and digital start-ups.